Carnival Corp. will pay another $20 million in an environmental crimes case to avoid having its probation revoked, in a deal with federal prosecutors that also contains several new environmental initiatives.

The agreement was unveiled in court in Miami before U.S. District Court Judge Patricia Seitz, who had required Carnival Corp. chairman Micky Arison and CEO Arnold Donald to attend the hearing.

As part of the agreement, Donald will issue a statement to all employees accepting management responsibility for probation violations committed since the company originally pled guilty to environmental crimes.

Following the court hearing, Carnival asserted in an email to Travel Weekly that it was not only committed to the compliance terms imposed in its settlement by the court but that it aspired to "leave the places we touch even better than when we first arrived."

"Today, the court approved our agreement with the Department of Justice -- setting forth new initiatives, improved procedures, additional training and significant investments to ensure we have the strongest and most sustainable environmental compliance program possible," the email stated.

"Carnival Corporation remains committed to environmental excellence and protecting the environment in which we live, work and travel."

Carnival had previously paid a $40 million financial penalty and agreed to five years of court-supervised environmental audits as part of its plea to 2016 charges that Princess Cruises violated pollution laws.

Donald's statement will be issued within 30 days of the June 3 agreement and will be approved by prosecutors and the court before distribution.

As part of the agreement, Princess also acknowledged new violations of laws banning the dumping of "gray water" in prohibited places, and allowing plastic mixed in with food waste to be dumped overboard.

Several countries, such as the Bahamas, first learned that improper discharges had been made in their waters by reading court filings made by auditors in the Princess case. This week's agreement includes a new obligation by Carnival Corp. brands to inform jurisdictions when violations of international pollution treaties take place.

Carnival agreed to spend at least $20 million through the end of its probation term to improve food waste management and disposal practices.

To that end, Carnival agreed to create two "tiger teams" of five to seven people each that will jumpstart the improvement process. The agreement sets out a three-part program that includes improvements of training, supervision, staffing and culture surrounding food disposal at Carnival.

It also mandates a 50% reduction in single-use plastics on Carnival ships by the end of 2021, along with strategies to reduce the weight of food waste by 10%.

Single-use plastics go beyond straws and stir sticks to include items such as butter, sauce and honey packets, utensils, plastic bags in retail shops, individual toiletry bottles, garbage bags in cabins and cup lids.

The agreement also commits Carnival to a detailed overhaul of the way it manages compliance with environmental laws.

To start, it will promote a corporate compliance manager to be a senior vice president, and then name a chief compliance officer, to whom the compliance manager will report. The chief compliance officer will report directly to Donald and indirectly to two committees of the board of directors.

The board will have to be trained in compliance and adopt a new statement reiterating its commitment to compliance. A new member would be added to the board who has "significant corporate compliance experience."

Carnival agreed to develop an action plan for compliance and take other steps by certain dates or face severe financial penalties if it misses those dates. Fines would start at $1 million a day for each day beyond the deadlines, and in one instance escalate to $10 million a day after 10 tardy days.

Comments
JDS Travel News JDS Viewpoints JDS Africa/MI